Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Minus Zero

I have a digital thermometer at home. It sits by the window and has a wire hanging outside that somehow determines the temperature. I guess that it is accurate because it is never more than a degree different from the temperature reported at the Charlottetown airport.

The only time I wonder about the thermometer is when the display reads, “-0.0”. It should never read minus zero, but it does. According to the math I was taught: zero was never a whole or a negative number. Yet, there it is on the display as clear as the frost on the window.

Obviously, the manufacturers never intended their product to give a minus zero reading when only zero was intended. It is an anomaly which I am sure they have corrected since my purchase of the thermometer many years ago.

I sometimes wonder if those who wrote or collated scripture would have made significantly different choices if they had only known how their words were to be understood by people many years later. I am thinking particularly of the New Testament’s clear message that Jesus the Christ will come soon. This has lead to some rather extraordinary claims about the end of the world, holy battles and the rapture. All of which are relatively recent ideas and without substantial support in the scriptures.

What is supported by the scripture is that Jesus did return; it’s called Easter. And Jesus returns every time two or three are gathered in his name. And Jesus returns in the bread and the wine. And Jesus returns every time we act with love and with justice. The kingdom of God is ushered in when we act the way Jesus acts, with inclusion, love, forgiveness, mercy and justice.

No comments: